Filmmakers Protest To Get More Incentives From State

On February 21, 2012, in News 2012, by Mark Norris
February 21, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than three dozen people who work in the film industry protested on the steps of Tennessee’s state capitol Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re trying to convince the governor our industry is worth saving,” said film industry supporter Jan Austin.
The filmmakers claim Tennessee is not doing enough to bring film production to the state, and other state’s are reaping the benefits.
“Tennessee gets vetted for a lot projects at the same time Georgia’s being vetted for them and they’ll shift right on over to Georgia and shoot in Georgia,” according to David Bennett, the former executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission.
Bennett said a larger incentive program in Tennessee would bring more movie production to the state.
“The film industry here in Tennessee is kind of sick right now and it needs an injection of cash to help it to get stronger,” Bennett explained.
The group protesting at the capitol want it to be know neighboring states like North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana are doing a better job luring studios to their states.
Austin said bringing a movie to Tennessee has a direct impact on the state’s economy.
“Hannah Montana, which was here in Middle Tennessee a couple of years ago, spent 14-million dollars just in Middle Tennessee,” according to Austin.
Tennessee does offer two incentive programs. One is for up to a 15% rebate on in-state spending for production costs.  The second offers up to a 17% rebate on in-state spending for companies headquartered in Tennessee.
The state currently has $10 million to spend on film incentives.

State Senator Mark Norris of West Tennessee introduced a bill last session that would have boosted those incentives to a high of $35 million. It did not make it through the legislature.
The state released as statement Tuesday and said it was aware of Norris’ legislation.
“We are aware of the bill and understand its intent. We continue to have a productive dialogue with the Senator about the legislation,” said Clint Brewer, an assistant commissioner for communications.
There is no word if Senator Norris has any plans to re-introduce that legislation during the current session.

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